While some might assess the recent breed of jam bands as successors to the Grateful Dead, this Mr. Know-It-All maintains that the worthiest heir to the Dead legacy is just another band from East L.A. Los Lobos measures up where it counts: musically. Like the Dead, they embrace roots music -- Tex-Mex/conjunto, urban blues, 1950s rock 'n' roll, traditional Mexican folk balladry, greasy R&B, avant-strangeness -- and can play 'em straight or refract them through a uniquely American funhouse mirror, from tight, three-minute toe-tappers to smoldering guitar sprawl. It doesn't end there -- there're side projects (the fractured, Tom Waits-like Latin Playboys) and eclectic taste in covers (last year's Ride This EP features tunes of Dave Alvin, Richard Thompson, and Ruben Blades). Longevity is another similarity -- this wolfpack has been prowling since 1973, and despite its sophistication, the band can still transform virtually any venue into a sweat-soaked, beer-fueled VFW Hall with a packed dance floor.
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Los Lobos tear it up right smart at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 12, at the Dade County Auditorium, 2901 W. Flagler St., Miami. Tickets cost $18 to $33. Call 305-547-5414.